The Massachusetts State House has long been a venue for political and cultural statements, and that tradition continued on Friday morning, as an 11-foot sculpture of a burnt heroin spoon was placed on the front steps as a gift to Attorney General Maura T. Healey.
The Spoon Movement, a nonprofit dedicated to calling attention to the nationwide opioid crisis and the people working to quell it, is giving Healey the sculpture to recognize “her efforts in leading Massachusetts’ battle against opioid addiction,” according to a statement from the organization.
In June, Healey sued OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma for allegedly misleading doctors and patients about the dangers of its opioids. Just days after the suit was filed, Fernando Alvarez, a gallery owner who founded the Spoon Movement with the sculptor, Domenic Esposito, was arrested for placing the 800-pound sculpture in front of the drug maker’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn., according to the nonprofit.
“There has not been a stronger voice for people devastated by the addiction brought on by the architects of this crisis,” Esposito said of Healey in the statement. “She has seen firsthand the devastation OxyContin and other opioids have caused in Massachusetts and across the country, and she had the courage to say, ‘No more.’ ”
Esposito, a resident of Westwood, was inspired to create the sculpture last year, after his brother, who has battled addiction for more than a decade, overdosed, according to the statement.
“At the peak of my brother’s struggle with addiction, my mother would call me in a panic that she found another burnt heroin spoon,” Esposito said in the statement. “It stands as a dark symbol of my brother’s disease.”
The nonprofit will move the sculpture to Esposito’s art studio after its stint on the State House steps Friday. The sculpture will then be moved again, if and when Healey decides where to keep it permanently.